Quantcast

3 Charts Prove the Solar Revolution Is Here to Stay

Business

The rise of solar power allows a further democratizing of the electricity system, and these charts illustrate how 2014 was a banner year for solar, but particularly distributed solar power.

First, the following chart shows that 2014 opened on the heels of an impressive year of solar growth. In 2013, more than 20 percent of new power plant capacity was from solar power, and a further 6 percent from residential solar alone! This is up from just 12 percent in 2012.

The year 2014 opened with a solar spark, with nearly two-thirds of new electricity generation coming from solar in the 1st quarter of 2014. Over the first three-quarters of last year, solar provided 36 percent of new capacity, with an astounding 17 percent from projects 1 megawatt and smaller on residential and commercial property. Yes, nearly 20 percent of new power plants were located at U.S. homes and businesses, not on power company property!

The growth of solar was driven in part by continued falling costs. The installed cost of solar fell 8-9 percent through the first half of 2014.

The solar wave that continued building in 2014 isn’t likely to recede any time soon, as ever-better economics let more customers seek a solar alternative to their utility. In fact, customer-owned solar has become a flashpoint in state policy battles between electric companies and their customers, even over the future business model of the electricity system. Along with energy efficiency, it represents a $48 billion opportunity for electric customers to reclaim money they currently send to their electric provider.

Does the solar success in 2014 mean 2015 will be another banner year for solar power? It’s hard to see why not.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

Wind Turbine Trees Generate Renewable Energy for Urban Settings

Solar Included for First Time Ever in State of American Energy Report

9 Big Market Breakthroughs of 2014

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Pick one of these nine activism styles, and you can start making change. YES! Illustrations by Delphine Lee

By Cathy Brown

Most of us have heard about UN researchers warning that we need to make dramatic changes in the next 12 years to limit our risk of extreme heat, drought, floods and poverty caused by climate change. Report after report about a bleak climate future can leave people in despair.

Read More Show Less
Jamie Grill Photography / Getty Images

Losing weight, improving heart health and decreasing your chances for metabolic diseases like diabetes may be as simple as cutting back on a handful of Oreos or saying no to a side of fries, according to a new study published in the journal The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Golde Wallingford submitted this photo of "Pure Joy" to EcoWatch's first photo contest. Golde Wallingford

EcoWatch is pleased to announce our third photo contest!

Read More Show Less
A boy gives an impromptu speech about him not wanting to die in the next 10 years during the protest on July 15. The Scottish wing of the Extinction Rebellion environmental group of Scotland locked down Glasgow's Trongate for 12 hours in protest of climate change. Stewart Kirby / SOPA Images / LightRocket / Getty Images

It's important to remember that one person can make a difference. From teenagers to world-renowned scientists, individuals are inspiring positive shifts around the world. Maybe you won't become a hard-core activist, but this list of people below can inspire simple ways to kickstart better habits. Here are seven people advocating for a better planet.

Read More Show Less
A group of wind turbines in a field in Banffshire, Northeast Scotland. Universal Images Group / Getty Images

Scotland produced enough power from wind turbines in the first half of 2019, that it could power Scotland twice over. Put another way, it's enough energy to power all of Scotland and most of Northern England, according to the BBC — an impressive step for the United Kingdom, which pledged to be carbon neutral in 30 years.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Beekeeper Jeff Anderson works with members of his family in this photo from 2014. He once employed all of his adult children but can no longer afford to do so. CHRIS JORDAN-BLOCH / EARTHJUSTICE

By Jessica A. Knoblauch

It's been a particularly terrible summer for bees. Recently, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced it is allowing the bee-killing pesticide sulfoxaflor back on the market. And just a few weeks prior, the USDA announced it is suspending data collection for its annual honeybee survey, which tracks honeybee populations across the U.S., providing critical information to farmers and scientists.

Read More Show Less

tommaso79 / iStock / Getty Images Plus

By Rachel Licker

As a new mom, I've had to think about heat safety in many new ways since pregnant women and young children are among the most vulnerable to extreme heat.

Read More Show Less
Pexels

By Kris Gunnars, BSc

It's easy to get confused about which foods are healthy and which aren't.

Read More Show Less